Have you ever had Mexican food and simultaneously had a bad day? We didn’t think so. When it comes to tacos, there are three cardinal rules: nothing soggy, chewy or bland, please. Because there’s nothing worse than biting into a sad taco. That’s why we’re committed to helping you find the best tacos New York City has to offer—and trust us, there are plenty. Whether you’re looking for vegan or gluten-free options, from a Mexican restaurant, a hole in the wall or a beloved taco truck, you can’t go wrong with any of these picks. Ranging across the five boroughs, we’ve rounded up 32 stand-out options of the best tacos in NYC for Cinco de Mayo, Taco Tuesday or any old meal.
The 32 Best Tacos in NYC, Hands Down
A taco is only as good as the tortilla in which it’s served. Luckily, this no-frills Bushwick shop is one part taqueria, one part tortilla factory, which means those corn tortillas are going to be just about as fresh as can be. If you’re having a hard time deciding what to order, we’re big fans of the spicy chorizo and potato number.
271 Starr St, Brooklyn; (718) 456-3422
What’s better than watching the cook slice juicy chunks of meat off of a roasting al pastor? Pretty much nothing. If you don’t mind waiting in line, stop by this Greenpoint taqueria Wednesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. for one of the best Mexico City-style tacos you’ll ever have. If you’re not sure what you want, don’t worry, the menu is small with only six mouthwatering options.
94 Franklin St., Brooklyn; taqueriaramirezbk.com
If you’re a connoisseur of birria tacos, you’ve got to check out this Brooklyn taqueria that’s been cooking up the same family recipes for generations. Opened during the pandemic, they now have locations in Bushwick, Park Slope, and Barclays Center (that’s only open during Nets games), where you can snag tacos, burritos, nachos, tortas, tostadas, empanadas, aguas frescas, and more—all served with “a pinch of passion in every plate!”
Multiple locations; nenestaqueriausa.com
This sit-down Bushwick joint has plenty more than just tacos on the menu (including the crab meat tostada, which you should definitely order), but we can’t stop thinking about the steak tacos with caramelized onions and chile de arbol sauce (pictured up top to the left). Yum!
887 Hart St., Brooklyn; amarantobklyn.com; (718) 576-6001
Sopas, enchiladas, and tacos, oh my! This cozy East Village institution has been serving up authentic Mexican classics, delicious margaritas, and—believe it or not—Los Angeles sports team pride since 2018. With 11 tacos to choose from, like lengua, bistec, cecina and cabeza, there’s something for everyone at this local gem.
79 St. Marks Pl;.taquerialowereastside.net; (646) 964-5614
This Jackson Heights taqueria was so good, it expanded into a fleet of taco trucks around Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as a second location in Alphabet City, Tacos Cuautla Morelos. Our pick here is the al pastor—seriously juicy pork marinated with chiles and pineapple. Any of their huevo (egg) dishes are also top-notch if you’re in a breakfast mood.
Multiple locations; tacosmorelosny.com; (718) 947-6381
7. Café Habana
If you’re not eating these chicken tacos with Café Habana’s famous Cuban-Mexican street corn smothered in spices and cotija cheese, you’re doing it wrong. Order an extra portion (you won’t regret it) and don’t forget the napkins! For extra fun, stop by for happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at their Nolita location for $5 beers and $7.50 cocktails. They’re celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, so you might even get a special treat the next time you stop by.
Multiple locations; cafehabana.com; (212) 625-2001, Ext. 2
Chef Alex Stupak’s taco empire includes Empellon Taqueria in the West Village and Waterline Square and Empellon Al Pastor in East Village, but Empellon, located in Midtown, is the must-try spot. Grab a table and chow down on maitake mushroom, fish tempura or pastrami tacos. Pick up Empellon’s award-nominated taco cookbook if you want to take the flavors home with you.
Multiple locations; empellon.com
Named after Sinaloa, the state in northwest Mexico, you could easily walk right past this tiny taco shop in the Bronx’s Marble Hill neighborhood. In-the-know locals, however, will tell you this is one of the best places in town for tender, juicy birria tacos served with consomé. While you’re there, try one of their specialty smoothies, or licuados, made with fresh juices.
113 W 225th St., Bronx; taqueriasinaloa.com; (917) 261-4146
10. Taqueria Diana
This spot with three locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn isn’t the fanciest (in fact, it’s more like a hole in the wall), but the tasty tacos—especially the carne—speak for themselves. Known for its San Francisco Mission-style Mexican food, make sure to try its burritos, nachos, mezcal and horchata at the East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, or Williamsburg locations.
Multiple locations; taqueriadiana.com
11. Tacoway Beach
On a warm summer day, your weekend plans are pretty much laid out for you: head to the Rockaways, hit the beach, and then fill up on the completely out of this world crispy Baja-style fish tacos (and maybe some elote and fresh juice too) at Tacoway Beach. FYI, this yummy spot—patio, indoor bar and all—is only open during summer months.
302 Beach 87th St., Queens; tacowaybeach.com
12. Ricos Tacos
There’s no shortage of excellent Mexican food in Sunset Park, but Ricos Tacos is a top contender. Pop into this hole-in-the-wall for $3 or $4 tacos (al pastor for the win), $2 taquitos and delicious $3.50 or $4.50 tostadas. Oh, and did we mention it’s open until 1 a.m. every single day?
505 51st St., Brooklyn; ricostacos.mobile-webview2.com; (718) 633-4816
Chef Enrique Olvera’s all-day Noho eatery has a diverse menu, offering everything from tostadas and flautas to chilaquiles, but the tacos are a much-welcome addition to any meal here, especially the melt-in-your-mouth suadero tacos on colorful corn tortillas topped with avocado and salsa cruda.
372 Lafayette St.; eatatla.com; (347) 662-3522
If the homemade corn tortillas and incredible al pastor tacos aren’t enough to get you excited, wait until you try the Mexican iced coffee that puts Starbucks to shame. The shop now also sells three different taco kits to-go! While the original location in Corona closed permanently during the pandemic, there’s an outpost housed in the Market Line at Essex Crossing.
115 Delancey St.; nixtamal.nyc
This unassuming storefront just off the Bowery is the size of a studio apartment, but they make some of our favorite tacos (and burritos) in the East Village. The tortillas are fresh, the tacos are large, and the toppings are plentiful. We love the fried fish tacos, which come with pickled cabbage and spicy mayo, and the carnitas topped with guacamole. For $2.50 extra, add double filling to any taco.
60 E. 3rd St.; (646) 692-9268
There isn’t much you can buy in the West Village for under $10, but you can have a very satisfying meal at The Little Taco House, a counter-service spot on West 4th Street. Order the carne enchilada (spicy pork meat) and carnitas tacos, which are topped with guac, cilantro, onions and salsa. If you’re in more of a bowl mood, all of their burritos are also available as bowls.
246 West 4th St.; (646) 719-1600
If there’s one food trend that has taken off in recent years, it’s birria tacos—and according to The New York Times, Birria-Landia has “changed the taco landscape.” Birria is supremely savory, tender slow-cooked Mexican beef stew, which is piled high in tortillas and served with the broth on the side (consomé) for dipping. This Jackson Heights food truck (now with trucks in Williamsburg, the Bronx and the Lower East Side) is the place to go for Birria tacos, tostadas or quesadillas. Plus, they all stay open ‘til 1 a.m. for your late night fix (aside from the Bronx location, which closes at 11 p.m.).
Multiple locations; birrialandia.com
18. Los Tacos No. 1
Hey, they call it “No. 1” for a reason... Since opening its first location inside Chelsea Market, this must-try eatery has expanded to Grand Central, Tribeca, Noho and Times Square. The menu is small but mighty, offering just a handful of tacos and quesadillas. You can’t go wrong, but the pollo asada is outstanding.
Multiple locations; lostacos1.com
19. Casa Enrique
This unsuspecting upscale Long Island City restaurant boasts a Michelin star, and you’d be wise to venture beyond the tacos and into the creative entrées. But any meal of chiles rellenos and Puebla-style mole tastes even better when it begins with a duo of brisket tacos.
5-48 49th Ave., Long Island City; casaenriquelic.com
20. Yellow Rose
There weren’t many great things that came out of the year 2020, but thank goodness for Yellow Rose. This East Village temple to Tex-Mex cuisine boasts some outrageously good tacos filled with fixings like beef barbacoa, papas ranchera and chicken verde. The best surprise of all though are the breakfast tacos, which are reminiscent of Austin but hard to come by in the Big Apple.
102 3rd Ave.; yellowrosenyc.com; (212) 529-8880
21. Tacos El Bronco
If we had to give a single award for best tacos in Sunset Park, it’s going to Tacos El Bronco — and their truck in the Bronx is just as tasty. This is a no-frills joint for Mexican-style home cooking where the tacos are cheap and piled high with meat. The salty beef and veal head options are unique and delicious, but one bite of the al pastor tacos topped in green sauce will transport you straight to Mexico City. Plus, all tortillas are handmade in-house.
Multiple locations; (718) 788-2229
22. Alta Calidad
The next time you find yourself in Park Slope craving tacos and margaritas, Alta Calidad is a no-brainer. The shrimp tempura tacos with cabbage, salsa negra and chorizo powder are always on our table. They’ve also got an extensive brunch menu featuring Mexican classics like huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos for all of your mid-morning cravings.
552 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; altacalidadbk.com; (718) 622-1111
As you exit the 7 train in Corona, Queens, you’ll quickly notice there’s no shortage of taquerias, but Homemade is one to seek out. The move here: three taquitos, which are served on double corn tortillas and topped with spit-grilled pork, cilantro and raw onions. (Psst: There are a whopping 15 locations in the five boroughs—plus one in Long Island—which are all just as good). Because if it’s not homemade, it’s not the best!
Multiple locations; homemadetaqueria.com
24. Taco Mix
Can’t swing a trip to Mexico this summer? Not a problem. Take a trip to this taqueria that’s been slinging tacos since 1991 for the next best thing. Started originally as a small taco cart in Harlem, Taco Mix now has another location in Brooklyn’s Industry City. The mouthwatering birria tacos are the real deal, people—and make sure to try the tortas and cemitas, too.
Multiple locations; tacomix.com
This permanent taco truck is parked in the back of a Mexican-themed dive bar in BedStuy, with another newly opened location in Greenwood, Brooklyn. Need we say more? The fish tacos are the best here, and they taste even better with a frozen margarita. Vegetarians also love the avocado tostadas or tortas, topped with black bean puree and lettuce.
Multiple locations; chilosbk.com; (718) 676-5245
With its light-drenched interior and green plants dripping from the ceilings, a meal at this Michelin-starred Greenpoint eatery always feels like a treat. In addition to your lamb barbacoa and swordfish tacos, you’ll also find some unique creations like vegetarian beet “chorizo” and artichoke with olive tacos.
128 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn; oxomoconyc.com; (646) 688-4180
Newly opened in 2021 with a brand-new outdoor patio with a view of the Williamsburg Bridge, Aldama is an ode to the vibrant nightlife of Mexico City—and you can taste it. Our pick? Try the taco de trompo, a delectable mix of pork belly, flank steak and adobo with pineapple and serrano gel on an heirloom corn tortilla. While the taco selection at the upscale eatery is limited, you can’t go wrong with any of their ceviches, moles or other twists on traditional Mexican street food.
91 S 6th St., Brooklyn; aldamarestaurantbk.com; (929) 298-0233
28. La Contenta
With two locations, one on the Lower East Side and a newer location in West Village, La Contenta offers traditional Mexican food with French accents—plus, the largest all-Mexican wine list in the U.S. Enjoy the carne asada taco topped with grilled hanger steak, guacamole, pico de gallo and tomatillo salsa, or opt for tacos de birria, de carnitas, de queso, de pescado, or de pollo. We also recommend their pan-roasted shrimp enchiladas if you’re a little hungrier.
Multiple locations; lacontentanyc.com
29. Jajaja Mexicana
Stop by any of the four NYC locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the plant-based Mexican meal of your dreams. Yep, everything on the expansive menu is void of animal products! Of their street tacos, the buffalo flower, mezcal mushroom and chipotle sweet potato are must-tries. What’s more? They serve an excellent brunch on weekends at all locations aside from Hudson Yards. Salud!
Multiple locations; jajajamexicana.com
You’ve likely seen one of Tacombi’s 11 locations in the Big Apple, connecting people to the food and culture of Mexico across all of the boroughs. Their menu offers a variety of tacos—Baja crispy fish, seared fish, al pastor, black bean and sweet potato, carnitas and more—and other Mexican snacks alongside ice-cold beer, cocktails and house-made juices in lively settings.
Multiple locations; tacombi.com
While Nina’s is known for their burritos, their tacos are just as spectacular. The restaurant tells the story of its chef and founder, Nina Guzman Flores—from growing up in Mexico to opening her own restaurant in NYC—through food. The homey Mexican fare’s highlights include the spicy potato and jalapeno tacos, the crispy fried chicken tacos, and the nacho norteños topped with shredded beef birria and chipotle cheese dip.
522 Columbus Ave.; ninasgreatburritobar.com; (212) 724-5151
32. La Esquina
For a lively dining experience with fresh cocktails, hip music and saucy tacos, La Esquina is your spot. The coliflor taco, made with roasted cauliflower, homemade guacamole and salsa macha with queso fresco, is their newest addition, joining the bistec con queso taco, the avocado taco, the adobo-grilled chicken taco, and more. Looking for more of a sit-down experience? They recently revamped the dine-in cafe menus at all three locations.
Multiple locations; esquinanyc.com